Mandalay was the capital city of the last reigning dynasty of Konbaung Kings. It is now the second capital and center of Myanmar’s art, cultures and Buddhist learning. The exquisite tapestry works, stone sculpture, the traditional art of gold leaf home industry are worth a visit. Mandalay can boast of the largest standing during the reign of the benevolent King Mindon, he had commanded the experts to chisel the entire scriptures of Tipitaka on 729 stone slabs in 1857. The mammoth book still serves as reference to the learners in Buddhist teachings. Other places of interest are the Mahamuni Holy Image, the Mandalay Hill, and the Sagaing Hill where Buddhist Sangha and nuns lead a peaceful secluded life of meditation.
Mandalay is situated on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River in central Myanmar. It is the second largest city in Myanmar. Towards the east, there are the blue Shan mountain ranges, which give the city a physical dignity. To the west there is Myanmar’s life stream, the mighty Ayeyarwady flowing by.
How to get there?
Mandalay International Airport is only about hour’s flight from Yangon. Myanmar Airways, Yangon Airways and Air Mandalay operate daily flights. The road trip from Yangon to Mandalay takes about 12 hours by express coach, and about 14 hours by train. Pyin-Oo-Lwin, a popular resort town and a former British hill-station, is about 69 km or an hours drive from Mandalay. The picturesque town is over 1000 metres above sea-level, and the cool climate adds to this town’s popularity with tourists.
When in Mandalay, one should not miss, among others, the Myat-Nan-San-Kyaw Palace, the Mandalay Hill, Kuthodaw Pagoda, Eindawya Pagoda and Mahamuni Pagoda. One should also visit the recently built Zay-gyo market and various department stores. Mandalay, while retaining its reputation as the home of ancient Myanmar culture and civilization is, today, fast moving to become a busy modern and industrial city as well.
Besides the Mandalay hill, the palace wall, and the palace, which is newly built, many other places in Mandalay attract tourists. Visiting the Great Maha Muni Pagoda is among them a top priority, which lies to the south of Mandalay. This pagoda was so named after the holy image, “Maha Muni” housed therein. Originally, this holy image belonged to Myohaung (a town in Rakhine State, the western coastal region of Myanmar).
Mandalay Division is situated in central Myanmar, adjoining Sagaing Division in the north, Shan State in the east, Bago Division and Kayin State in the south, and Sagaing and Magway Divisions in the west. The area of Mandalay Division is 14,295 square miles.
Mandalay Division is the second most populous division in Myanmar with 6,442,000 residents. The average population density is 424 persons per square mile.
The majority of the population is Bamar. There are also a small number of Shan, Danu, Lisu and Palaung residing on the eastern plateau. Small populations of Leway and Pyinmana live in the Plain Chin (Asho Chin) region. National races such as Kachin, Kayin and Chin also live in the division.
Most of the people follow Buddhism, and there are also Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
Myanmar language is mainly spoken.